We all instinctively understand the basic functions of feminine and masculine energies, but we may not realize that they both exist in each person. More often we tend to associate male and female energies with their respective body types.
Thus, women have become the symbols of female energy. Traditionally, women have developed and expressed receptivity, nurturing, intuition, sensitivity, and emotion. In the past, many women more or less repressed assertiveness, direct action, intellect, and the ability to function effectively and strongly in the world.
Likewise, men have become the symbols of male energy. Traditionally, they have developed their ability to act in the world strongly, directly, assertively, and aggressively. Many men repressed and denied their intuition, emotional feelings, sensitivity, and nurturing.
Helplessly Dependent on Your "Other Half"?
As we cannot live in the world without the full range of masculine and feminine energies, each sex has been helplessly dependent on the other half for its very existence. From this perspective, each person is only half a person, dependent on his or her other half for survival.
Men have desperately needed women to provide them with the nurturing, intuitive wisdom, and emotional support without which they unconsciously know they would die. Women have been dependent on men to take care of them and provide for them in the physical world, where they haven’t known how to take care of themselves.
Living in Constant Dependency and Fear of Abandonment?
It might seem like a perfectly workable arrangement — men help women, women help men — except for one underlying problem: as an individual, if you don’t feel whole, if you feel your survival depends on another person, you are constantly afraid of losing them. What if that person dies or goes away? Then you die, too, unless you can find another such person who is willing to take care of you.
Of course, something might happen to that person also. Thus, life becomes a constant state of fear in which the other person is merely an object for you — your supply of love or protection. You must control that source at any cost: either directly, by force or superior strength, or indirectly using various manipulations. Generally, this happens subtly — “I’ll give you what you need so you will be just as dependent on me as I am on you, so you will keep giving me what I need.”
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So our relationships have been based on dependency and the need to control the other person. Inevitably, this leads to resentment and anger, most of which we repress because it would be too dangerous to express it and risk losing the other person. The repressing of all these feelings leads to dullness and deadness. This is one reason why so many relationships start off exciting (“Wow! I think I’ve found someone who can really fulfill my needs!”) and end up either filled with anger or relatively dull and boring (“They aren’t fulfilling my needs nearly as well as I had hoped, and I’ve lost my own identity in the process, but I’m afraid to let go for fear I’ll die without this person.”).
New World Relationships: Developing Wholeness Within
A new idea of relationships is emerging that is based on each person developing wholeness within him- or herself. Internally, each person is moving toward becoming a fully balanced feminine/masculine being with a wide range of expression, from softest receptivity to strongest action.
When people hear these ideas they sometimes express the fear that we will all become outwardly androgynous — men and women all appearing pretty much the same. The reverse is actually true. The more women develop and trust their male aspect to support them and back them up internally, the safer they feel to allow their soft, receptive, beautiful feminine aspect to open up.
The women I know who are going through this process seem to become more feminine and beautiful even while they are strengthening their masculine qualities. Men who are surrendering and opening fully to their female energy are actually reconnected with the inner feminine power that enhances and strengthens their masculine qualities. Far from becoming effeminate, the men I know who are involved in this process become more secure in their maleness.
Wholeness: Learning About The Partner Within
In the new world, when a man is attracted to a woman, he recognizes her as a mirror of his feminine aspect. Through her reflection he can learn more about his own female side and move through whatever fears and barriers he may have to come to a deeper integration within himself. When a woman falls in love with a man, she is seeing her own male reflected in him. In her interactions with him she can learn to strengthen and trust her masculine side.
If you know on a deep level that the person you’re attracted to is a mirror of yourself, you cannot be overly dependent on him or her because you know that everything you see in your partner is also in you! You recognize that one of the main reasons you’re in the relationship is to learn about yourself and deepen your connection with the universe. So, healthy relationships are based on the passion and excitement of sharing the journey into becoming a whole person.
This might sound as if we are evolving to a place where we are so whole within ourselves that we no longer need relationships at all! The paradox is this: as human beings, we are social, interdependent creatures. We do need one another. Part of experiencing wholeness is accepting the parts of us that need love, closeness, and intimacy with one another. So, creating conscious relationships involves honoring both our dependence and our interdependence.
*Subtitles added by InnerSelf
Reprinted with permission of the publisher,
New World Library, Novato, CA 94949. www.newworldlibrary.com.
©1986, 2011 by Shakti Gawain and Laurel King.
Living in the Light: Follow Your Inner Guidance to Create a New Life and a New World
by Shakti Gawain.
Living in the Light is a comprehensive map to growth, fulfillment, and consciousness. As we grapple with personal, national, and global challenges on many fronts, this classic work is timelier than ever. With great insight and clarity, Shakti shows us the transformative power of bringing awareness to every part of ourselves. Simple yet powerful exercises on subjects including creativity, relationships, parenting, health, money, and transforming the world help us put these teachings to practical use in our daily lives.
About the Author
Shakti Gawain is a pioneer in the field of personal growth and consciousness. Her many bestselling books, including including Creative Visualization, Living in the Light, Creating True Prosperity, The Path of Transformation, and The Four Levels of Healing, have sold more than six million copies in thirty languages worldwide. For more than twenty years, Shakti has led workshops internationally, and has facilitated thousands of individuals in developing greater awareness, balance, and wholeness in their lives. For more info, visit her website at www.shaktigawain.com.